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615 of 683 people found the following review helpful
on July 18, 2012
Dear Amazon,

This review was written for Sandisk Extreme, not Sandisk Extreme II. It has nothing to say about the newer model. Your editors have erred in conflating the reviews for these two different products.

Readers please note that Sandisk has, after many months, corrected the problems cited in this review, so those complaints are now irrelevant. However, my comments on the corporation's lack of integrity and honesty still stand.

This is probably the fastest and most reliable SSD in its price class...except for it failing to deliver its rated speed due to defective firmware.

The problem occurs with MacBooks and desktop models that use the NVidia SATA controller. (You can see the controller under System Profiler->Serial-ATA.) The Sandisk Extreme will connect at a negotiated link speed half that of the controller. That means for a SATA 2 (3 Gbps) controller, transfer speeds will be limited to about 120 MB/s, a quarter of the SSD's rated speed. SATA 3 (6 Gbps) will be limited to about 250 MB/s in practice.

This problem of reduced link speed has appeared extensively with various combinations of SSD brands and Mac models. Both OWC and OCZ have already issued firmware updates that correct the problem, giving their customers the full speed capacity of their SSDs. As of the writing, Sandisk has not corrected the problem, nor committed to doing so.

If you are thinking of installing any SSD in a Mac, I suggest you first search for "negotiated link speed" <your mac model> <ssd model> to find out whether your particular combination will suffer this defect.

As for myself, after days of research, waiting for a good price, and great anticipation, I will be returning my Sandisk Extreme tomorrow. So disappointed.

(MacBook late 2009; SATA 2 NVidia controller; Sandisk Extreme 240GB)

Update 19-July-2012:
I spoke with Sandisk technical support (in India). They acknowledge a problem with slow link speeds with the NVidia MCP79 controller. Here is their email response:
We really apologize for the inconvienience caused to you, however we would like to inform you that this is a known issue wih Sandisk and this issue has already been escalated to the R&D team for research and we are expecting a fix on this issue pretty soon regarding the compatibility of Nvidia MCP79 graphics card and Macbook pro and the Sandisk SSD getting the appropriate speed as per design.

Update 3-August-2012:
My attempts to get useful information from SanDisk have turned into a series of Kafkaesque bureaucratic runarounds. After hours on the phone and countless emails with clueless and evasive support technicians, I have learned only the following:

1) The problem of connecting at half the SATA controller speed occurs with several different nVidia controllers.

2) The issue has been "escalated to the R&D department". R&D has known of the defect since March.

3) Since March, SanDisk has failed to either issue a fix or to inform potential buyers that this SSD may not work at full speed in their computer.

4) The Corporation will not state "if and when SanDisk will make firmware updates for specific chipset versions or OS."

So I suggest again that before buying this SSD you thoroughly research whether the link speed defect occurs with your particular SATA controller. At this point I have no confidence that SanDisk will issue a fix, nor in the integrity of the company to respond to the needs of (actual and potential) customers honestly and effectively.

I will monitor the situation until August 20, 2012 (the return date), and will update here if a fix is issued by then.

Update 21-August-2012
Thanks for the feedback. I feel happy to have saved some people from the hassle I have experienced with this product.

Today's call to SanDisk confirms that they know of the issue, have no fix, and no date for a fix. The support agent even suggested it was best to RMA the device at this point.

And, gentle readers, it gets worse. Some of you may understand what the TRIM command is. TRIM is sent by the OS to inform the SSD which blocks are no longer in use. This information in turn allows the SSD to garbage collect those blocks, which keeps the SSD's write speed up to spec. It turns out that both TRIM and garbage collection are poorly implemented in this SSD. After use (2x filled), its write speed falls to 15-30% of its initial speed. Issuing TRIM restores write speed to about 60% of rated speed, but apparently after use the SSD can never regain its fresh-out-of-box rated write speeds. You can view the actual measurements here:

This problem with GC and TRIM seems to affect *all* SSDs based on the newest SandForce 2281 controller, not just SanDisk's. The manufacturers have known about this defect for five months. Apparently, all the various Corporations though it was unimportant to let their customers know we are buying defective products that will irrecoverably lose their rated write speed after use. You can read the sordid details here:

Rumor is that SandForce has already issued a firmware update that fixes TRIM/GC. We are waiting for the various manufacturers to customize it and issue their own updates. Any day now.

In case you have not caught it, I am angry and fed up. Angry at SanDisk for wasting my time and money by failing to disclose two major defects. That's called lying everywhere outside of corporate culture and politics. Fed up with most of the SSD manufacturers for burdening the customer with onerous firmware updates and known firmware defects. For turning us into their quality control engineers by shipping DOA and soon-to-fail hardware - just look at the customer feedback on Amazon. Surely the bean counters have figured out it's cheaper to ship defective product and force the customer to sort it out than to test the units themselves.

Someone asked what SSD I would recommend. Take a look at the first link above and note the models that do not degrade with use and that respond properly to TRIM. Those happen to be the ones without the SandForce controller. Next look at the percentage of 1 and 2 star reviews. (Yes, I understand that reviews are biased toward the negative, but they still indicate your relative odds of getting a lemon.) Next search for others' experiences with that SSD and your computer/SATA controller, to make sure it is compatible. Lotta work... to buy a device that is marketed as working out of the box.

For my MacBook, late 2009, the only one I see that makes the cut is Samsung 830, with few reported defects and decent sustained performance. But speaking strictly for me, I am out of the SSD market. I'm going to reinstall my trusty, slow mechanical hard drive, and wait six months. Maybe by then the manufacturers will have received enough blowback to be selling products that actually work well and reliably. Maybe.
Looks like Amazon does not allow links in these reviews. To find the performance measurements cited above, search for "SanDisk Extreme SSD 240 GB Review" at XBit Labs. Page 4.

The TRIM problem is documented in the article "LSI SandForce 5 Series SSD Firmware" at TweakTown.

Good luck, and do your research before rolling the dice.

Update 9-October-2012.
Still no fix for these two issues. Still no word from SanDisk stating when, or if ever, they will be fixed.

Update 22-October-2012
SanDisk has at last released firmware update R211 that is supposed to fix the TRIM command. R211m claims to fix the negotiated link speed issue with nVidia SATA controllers.

Cautious buyers may want to wait until reliable independent testing labs verify that the issues are truly fixed and that no new bugs were introduced. After all, SanDisk and others have released buggy firmware before, and concealed that fact even after knowing about it.

Good luck to you!
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80 of 94 people found the following review helpful
on April 16, 2012
My system basics:
Windows 7, 64bit
Dell Vostro 3550 about 6 months old.
Intel Core I5 (quad) 2.3ghz with turbo.
8GB dram
Sata 3 drive controller
Crucial M4 128GB SSD, Read 500MB/sec, write speed 200MB/sec (was originally WD 7200rpm 320GB)
My qualifications: Electronic Engineer/Project manager. PC owner for 25+ years.

Opening comments: I have owned pc's for 25years. THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE BEST BANG FOR THE BUCK UPGRADE YOU COULD EVER HOPE TO BUY!!!! IT IS EVEN BETTER THAN REPLACING A 2YR OLD COMPUTER OR LAPTOP AND OF COURSE CHEAPER!! Other benefits: windows is more stable. If you have a lot of programs open at the same time, the computer remains stable all day. Now, I rarely need to reboot.

I bought a Crucial M4 SSD (solid state drive) about a 2 month's ago and was amazed at the speed. Can't go back to mechanical hard-drives. I bought this one because it was spec'd faster than the M4 and I needed a back-up drive. This technology does not have a reliability track record for long term use as a computer drive. Once a week, I create clone drive copy as a back up. If the drive fails this clone can be popped in my laptop and I'm ready to go in 10 minutes. No restore needed except the few files I have added or changed.

Summary 1st: Both drives are excellent choices. (Sandisk Extreme and Crucial M4)
On my laptop, in every day use Sandisk extreme is slightly faster.

See posted photo's for actual data.
a)According to "ASS SD" benchmark test. Crucial is much faster than this drive (Sandisk Extreme.)
b)According to "Benchmark" speed test: Sandisk Extreme is faster. SanDisk write speed blows away the Crucial M4.

Note: Electrical specs like statistics can be presented in a way that is deceptive.

Spec from SanDisk website for the Extreme (not in Amazon's description)
Performance 120GB
Sequential Read (up to) 550 MB/s 550 MB/s 540 MB/s
Sequential Write (up to) 510 MB/s 520 MB/s 460 MB/s

I like this drive a lot. Great performance!! Definitely would recommend it to a friend.

I will update this review if there are any reliability problems.

Hope this helps you make an informed decision on what to buy.

Thanks to all those who have posted reviews on Amazon. They have been extremely helpful in making good purchase decisions on Amazon.

7-22-12 3month update: Drive has been performing flawlessly. No problems or issues. Love it's speed and it's quiet.

1-6-13 Update (8 months) Drive has been trouble free. There are a few drive out there now that write at or near 500Mbs. My computer continues to be very stable all day (windows 7)
review image review image review image review image
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74 of 92 people found the following review helpful
on April 4, 2012
I'll start by saying I'm not a techie, but I do my research and I understand computers fairly well, so understand that this review is coming from the perspective of an educated layman with just his personal experience (and what he's read elsewhere) to go off.

And, before I start, let me give you my hardware specs first, just so you know: HP HDX18T laptop, Intel Core 2 Duo T9550 @ 2.66 GHz, 1080p HD res, 4gb ram (2 x 2DIMM), nvidia 130M card (does the job, but it's my weakest link now, for sure!). Used to be a top-of-the-line system, but it's about 3.5 yrs old now, and I haven't really babied it at all, so the parts definitely have normal wear and tear.

Now, onto the review --

Performance: This SSD simply FLIES. My "disk data transfer" Windows Experience Score was 5.5 out of 7.9 before the upgrade (with a WD2500BEKT 250 gb hdd @ 7200 rpm). After installing the Sandisk Extreme 120 gb SSD, my score shot up to 7.7 out of 7.9!! That is a ridiculous improvement, and the real-life difference, it turns out, is EXTREMEly noticeable (see what I did there?). I didn't precisely time the boot, shutdown, and application launch times before the upgrade, but with this drive, the boot and shutdown times are about halved, and the application launch time is basically instantaneous. Also, my computer is super quiet now very low fan speed, and almost no heat is being generated.

Price: I scooped this up for a mere $129.99 on one of amazon's one-day price drops (for the past few weeks, it's varied between $139-$149, so this was a nice deal). In fact, if you compare the cost of this SSD ($/Gb) to others, you'll see this drive is far and away the best deal out there. Plus, this drive is Sata III (Sata 600) compatible, which is SIGNIFICANTLY faster than Sata II (Sata 300), assuming your computer can make use of Sata III, and it's even cheaper than the same-sized Sata II drives! (Don't worry: if your CPU can only handle Sata II, this SSD will still work, but just at the slower, Sata II speeds.)

Ease of installation: this is what put this drive over the edge for me in terms of customer satisfaction. Like I said above, I do my research, and from everything I read, I was a little concerned that this installation wouldn't be super easy (cloning hard drives, moving the OS and programs and user files, transferring boot images, etc). Let me just tell you, this installation is EASY. Here's what you do: transfer to another drive all of your data (pictures, music, videos, documents, and maybe any very large programs, especially if you use them infrequently). Now you should have just the OS and programs left on the main drive. If you have a 2 hard drive system (like I do), you disconnect the drive with all your data and, in its place, connect the Sandisk Extreme. Turn on the laptop and clone the main drive onto the Sandisk Extreme (I used the freeware Macrium Reflect to clone the drive). Turn off the laptop and disconnect the main drive, plug in the Sandisk Extreme where the main drive was just connected, and reconnect the other drive that has the data on it where the Sandisk Extreme was before. Assuming you cloned the drive correctly, your computer should boot right up without a problem. Windows 7 also recognizes this drive as a SSD, so it does all the tweaks you'd want it to do automatically.

Honestly, after using this drive, I won't ever use a laptop without a SSD again. It's that much of an improvement for that little of a cost.

I'll update this review in a couple months to say how the SSD has held up, but my immediate reaction is that it's the best upgrade I could have given my computer, and I'm completely satisfied with my choice.

Update (next day): just to be clear, a lot of the things I'm raving about for this SSD are also going to be true for other SSDs. The real take-away point is that this drive gives you all of the benefits of the top-of-the-line drives (like Intel) at a fraction of the price. Plus, Sandisk is no small fry in the flash memory game! So, realize that this drive is among the best available today, and it's definitely the cheapest (at the time of writing this).

Update (4/11/12): just a hdd and ssd benchmark comparison I ran - PCMark7 with my 7200rpm hdd: Score = 1,948. With my ssd: Score = 3,017. Continue to love the drive's performance, and heat generation has definitely gone down. My core temp doesn't go above 45C now, and the ssd reads 43C -- that's a drastic improvement from my temps before which would be 65-70C (hot, I know!).
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21 of 26 people found the following review helpful
I build computers for myself and friends they are usually very high end machines or servers. I use SSD drives in the high end ones and I own about 9 different SSD drives. My monster machine that I use all the time had a 240 GIG drive in it and I wanted more space so I picked up a 480 GIG Extreme SSD by SanDisk. This drive does not come with any mounting hardware meaning screws, brackets for a 2.5 inch drive, SATA cable or a power cable but since I was replacing an existing SSD I had everything I needed.

The first thing I did before I installed it is that I installed the SanDisk SSD Toolkit and I checked the drive to see if it was current with the firmware and it was not. The current firmware is R211 and its improvements are in not my version which was R201. Here are the R211 improvements:

- Improved TRIM Latency, TRIM Performance, Background Garbage Collection, Error Handling and Power Management
- Fixed the normalized value calculation for SMART Attribute "Power-On Hours".
- Fixed an issue where temperature reading was not reporting correctly.

These are important updates so I wanted to make sure that I was running the latest version. I would rather change the firmware now before I clone my boot drive to the new one as you always take the risk of losing some data with a firmware change. I used an external docking station using an eSATA cable. I created a bootable USB thumb drive with the new firmware on it and booted the computer from that drive per the instructions from of the SanDisk SSD Toolkit. After the firmware update to R211, I cloned my primary drive to the new drive.

Cloning 180+ GIG of data took less than 28 minutes using a tool called Apricorn EZ GIG III. The write speed was 117 MB/s. I then swapped the drives and installed the new one in my slot for the primary drive. When I booted my computer it immediately recognized the new drive as the C Drive and it told me that I had to restart Windows 7 for the changes to take effect. You should note that Windows changed the drive letter to C.

Unless you need the old drive you took out right away I always keep it as long as possible as a backup of my working operating system. If something should happen you now have a recovery disk to get back into operation and you may have to install a few updates by you don't lose everything including possibly the OEM license to your operating system. If you don't need the drive and have room in your tower computer (If that is where you installed this new one) I sometimes leave the old drive in place and make sure that the wires are run to it but not connected so it does not wear out. (Especially if it is a standard mechanical drive) Now you know where it is and if the primary drive fails then remove the PC computer's power and unplug the failed drive and plug in the archived one and you are back in business.

So far I am happy with the new drive as it is as fast as my old SSD and I didn't lose any performance but I picked up an additional 240 GIG of storage space and a little more breathing room on the boot drive. After you do this you should check to make sure that the Trim in Windows 7 is turned on and that Superfetch, Prefetch and Disk Defragmenter are turned off. (SSD drives do not need these tools and they should not be operating on your SSD) Here are some basic instructions on how to check those applications. If you do go to the computer registry be very careful and do not make any changes to any other areas as this will affect the performance of your computer.

This example shown is for Windows 7!
Navigate to the following registry:

* HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Session Manager\Memory Management\PrefetchParameters
* If the superfetch and prefetch features are disabled, their registry value should be 0, please check if EnablePrefetcher and EnableSuperfetch are both set to 0.

Check your defrag scheduler and it should say that the SSD drive is to never run.
* Open Disk Defragmenter
* It should show you all of your installed drives

* Your SSD drive should say never run

On Windows 7 to check if Trim is set to on:
Open the Start Menu, type CMD
Right click the icon and Run as Administrator

* Type: fsutil behavior query disabledeletenotify
* DisableDeleteNotify = 1 (Windows TRIM commands are disabled)
DisableDeleteNotify = 0 (Windows TRIM commands are enabled)
To enable TRIM:
* Open the Start Menu, type CMD
Right click the icon and Run as Administrator
* Type: fsutil behavior set disabledeletenotify 0

I hope this has been helpful to you and enjoy your new SSD Drive. I like this product and I give it 5 stars and I recommend it to you.
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18 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on June 12, 2012
I have a mid-2010 MacBook Pro (MBP) that had a 500 GB 7200 RPM drive installed. I've really wanted an SSD, but the price has been too steep. The other day, the SanDisk 480 GB drive was on sale for $379, and my daughters gave me a $100 Amazon gift certificate for my birthday, so I decided to go for it. I am VERY glad I did.

The boot-up time, once the Apple and gear show up, is a matter of seconds. Once I enter my username and password, the screen springs into action. This drive really screams with a 6GBs transfer rate. It's too early to tell if it will increase battery life, but I suspect it will since it draws less power. I'll report back in several weeks and let everyone know what I find. From what I read, there are faster SSD drives out there, but honestly, the performance on my MBP is so improved that I'm not sure I'd notice the difference unless I saw them back to back. Folks, Photoshop 5 boots in under 4 seconds. I normally run my Mac with about 18 open applications, and the boot time has gone from minutes down to 45 seconds.

For those Mac users that are setting the drive up from scratch, just physically install it and install your OS. To clone your existing drive, which is what I did, here's how I was able to transfer the original drive contents and install TRIM, which is not natively supported by Apple for any SSDs that are not Apple branded.

You'll need a USB SATA drive enclosure for 2.5" drives, which I already owned. I installed the SSD in the enclosure (1 minute) and then plugged the enclosure into my Mac. You should check macsales dot com for inexpensive ones.

Once you plug the drive enclosure into your Mac, you'll need to format it with Disk Utility, which is in Applications/Utilities. The good news is that a dialog box should come up and offer to do it for you as soon as the drive is recognized.

I then ran Carbon Copy Cloner (CCC), a free piece of software from Bombich, that cloned my original hard drive to my new SSD. I have a lot of material, so it took about 7.5 hours, but in the end everything showed up perfectly! Be sure and boot from the cloned drive to assure yourself that it will boot and that all of your data was cloned. You do this by restarting and holding the OPTION key down and you'll be presented with the available drives to boot from. Choose your new SSD. Another advantage of CCC is that it can create the hidden partition that Lion uses for emergencies.

Physically swapping a drive out of a MBP is dead simple, but requires a small Phillips screwdriver for the screws on the back cover and drive holder, and a Torx 6 to remove the spacers off the original drive. Both of these tools are available for $1 at Sears or Walmart. For a video on how to do this, go to macsales dot com, click on Tech Support, then Videos, and choose the Mac you'll be upgrading. I admit that this isn't my first time swapping out drives, but honestly, this is a 15-20 process, and is really just a matter or removing some screws, pulling the connector off one drive and putting it on another, then reattaching the screws.

Last, you'll need to enable TRIM, which allows the drive to clean up deleted files. TRIM is only supported by Apple on their own SSDs, so you'll need to run a patch to fix it. You can find all the info you need at Lifehacker. Amazon doesn't let me insert links in reviews, so you'll need to Google How To Enable Trim to find the patch. It's free, and it's brain-dead simple to do. Reboot and you're all done!!

I love this new drive. I feel like I have a new machine that is faster than even the new Macs that were just announced at WWDC!! This drive is great. I'll report back over time to let you know how it holds up in daily use.

August 15, 2012 update: the drive continues to perform to my expectations. Every other computer I work on now seems slow compared to my MBP! As for battery life, I really don't notice a difference. I haven't conducted any tests that would yield empirical evidence about this, but I still get only 3-4 hours max out of my laptop, about the same I did with the OEM drive. Nonetheless, I am delighted with this device. It really is like having a new computer! Once again, I would caution that on a Mac, if you're upgrading from Lion to Mountain Lion, or upgrading to the latest version of Lion, be careful that you re-enable TRIM support. I'm currently using TRIM Enabler to patch the OS, and while it will survive a reboot or restart just fine, it does not stay in place when you initiate a system update. Be sure to run the software to re-enable the patch, then restart your computer. (The restart will be lightening fast with your new drive, not like the PITA it was in the past!) Then run TRIM Enabler (or System Information) to confirm that TRIM is in place. I see this as a small price to pay for the dazzling performance I now get from my new hard drive!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 17, 2012
I didn't move to an SSD for a long time. Too expensive.

Well, a gold box deal got the drive down to 75 cents a gig, and I broke down and got one. We all have our price points.

I got a very recent Dell Inspiron N7110 (aka Inspiron 17R, 6GB DDR3, i5-2450M, 1600x900 HD display, yadda, yadda, yadda) for an incredibly low price, when Dell mistakenly let two coupons overlap. Heh. Anyway, I was holding out for a full HD display with Blu-Ray, but I couldn't pass up about a 45% discount. The thing is bigger than home plate, but I need the screen real estate. (My laptop is my primary communications and picture backup device, and use 64-bit Photoshop and Premier CS5 on it on the road.)

The problem was, the thing had a 1TB, 5400rpm disk. It was killing me. All the other components (except maybe for the graphics, but I don't game) are pretty speedy, but I/O to that disk was painful.

After finding "Inspiron" and "User serviceable components" are mutually exclusive in Dell's world, I unscrewed the 28 screws of three different types (don't mix 'em up) and removed the four ribbon cables, and took half the machine apart to get to the hard disk. There's a video on how to do it out there. Go find it first before doing this.

Hooked up and booted off the old hard disk via e-sata and used True Image to clone, and when the True Image process finished it rebooted into the SSD. Simple as that. Good effing grief, I would have upgraded my last laptop to an SSD at twice the price had I known. I now have another SSD and will be upgrading my production core-i7 web/photo/video machine soon. [See update below.]

Others can give you the numbers, my Windows Experience disk score did go from a 5.9 to 7.8, but seat of pants says it's much faster. Boot/hibernate/wake/shutdown times are in terms of seconds, rather than if you can get a cup of coffee *and* go to the bathroom before it finishes...

Any five stars, and highly recommended. I had no problems except maybe my hand starting to cramp before I got the last screw back in...

Edit update: So long as I was fixing a mistake in the review (see comments), I should add I have one of these in each of my production machines (three of them, 1-120GB and 2-240GB), and have been running fast and flawlessly for 7-8 months now. I still highly recommend these disks.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 500 REVIEWERon December 4, 2012
The physical install in my 2009 Mac Pro took less than 15 minutes, including dragging the tower out from under my desk, popping the lid and unplugging all the cables. Basically you mount the SSD 480 on a sled using 4 screws and it slides into the dock/mount with a single stroke. Of course, you need to buy a $20 OWC Mount Pro as the stock sleds in the Mac Pro are for 3.5 inch disks. The format takes mere seconds so no biggie there either.

The time consuming task is installing your OS and apps on the new drive. I used Carbon Copy Cloner to simply clone my internal drive and about an hour later I rebooted under the new drive. Of course, I also installed Trim Enabler for SSD maintenance and updated the drive firmware to R211. The SDD 480 shipped with firmware R201 and supposedly suffered a bug that disabled Trim operations. You'll need to go to the SanDisk website or google for the update. The updater must be installed on a CD/DVD and you reboot under Linux. Most Mac users haven't seen an old style Linux interface so it may be disconcerting to see line commands and not be able to use a mouse or trackpad. The update only takes a few minutes. However anybody installing a SSD is a DIY type so they'll enjoy the extra toil and adventure.

Everything works like it did before but faster. Startup and shutdown fly and saw the most pronounced speed improvements. The original hard drive (still in another bay) is a 3TB 7200RPM Barracuda and the 24GB of RAM means little disk access with demanding apps like PhotoShop, Protools and Premiere. So while app opening and waking from sleep are a level faster with the SSD, the gains are less pronounced than I had hoped. Processing RAW photos and large AIFF audio files are about the same as the old mechanical disk, probably because most processing is done in RAM. If I ever hit the scratch disk in PS the SSD 480 would really sing but even with multiple adjustment layers that doesn't seem to happen. Oddly, MS Word 2008--the slowest opening app I've ever owned--now opens in about one second.

So all in a good upgrade and value considering the 480GB was only 3 bills. However, if your Mac already has a fast mechanical drive and is loaded with RAM, the gains are clear but not as dramatic as upgrading a slow MacBook drive. I'll update this review if there are developments down the road.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on October 24, 2012
Size: 120 GBVine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
To test the Sandisk Extreme SSD, I first defragmented my laptop hard drive and cloned it onto the SSD. This wasn't a case of re-installing the programs. This was an actual clone of the drive, useless leftover files and all. I did some time tests of the old drive and then installed the SSD (clone) into the laptop and re-ran the tests.

Here are the results. As you can see, I have some rather old versions of programs, but that doesn't make a difference because *everything* was the same except for the hard drive (original hard drive vs. SSD). In other words, a totally controlled study. The operating system is Windows XP. The laptop is a Fujitsu S7110.

Test 1. Time from pressing power button to being able to type password on the login screen
Original hard drive 1:09
SSD 0:26

Test 2. Time from pressing green button after entering password to desktop screen loading
Original hard drive 0:33
SSD 0:09

Test 3. Opening MS Word 2003 from the quickstart menu
Original hard drive 0:06
SSD 0:02

Test 4. Opening Photoshop 7.0 from the start menu
Original hard drive 0:14
New hard drive 0:04

As the test results show, the SSD performed significantly faster than the original hard drive.

The test results speak for themselves. But what exactly is an SSD, you ask, and how is it different from a regular hard drive?

The main difference between a solid-state drive (SSD) and a regular hard drive is how it stores data. In a regular hard drive, the data is stored in trillions of tiny spots on the surface of a spinning circular disk.
These spots are arranged in circular tracks, and there is a reading and writing "head" attached to an arm that can move in and out over the disk, to access every track. Each spot can be in a magnetized or unmagnetized state, which the head reads and writes to store binary 0's and 1's. An SSD is different. It stores data as electric charge in "NAND flash" computer chips. Imagine a balloon that you can charge up by rubbing it on your hair and then it sticks to the wall. The balloon can be either charged or uncharged, corresponding to 1 or 0. Each NAND flash chip contains billions of transistors, and the inputs of these transistors can be compared to tiny tiny balloons that you can charge up or discharge to store data.

The advantage of regular hard drives is they are cheaper to make than SSDs. Although the price of SSDs is dropping fast, you can still get a hard drive with about twelve times the capacity for the same price. SSDs win out in almost all other cases. In a regular hard disk, to read data you have to move the read/write head to the track the data is on, then wait for the disk to spin around until the data you want rotates under the head. Both of these steps take longer than it does to actually read the data. Then, if you want to read another file on a different part of the disk, you have to do this all over again. This is why hard drives are a lot slower reading many small files (e.g. when a computer is booting up) compared to reading one large file with the same overall size. With an SSD there is no read/write head to move, or spinning disk.
It takes the same time to read two files stored one after the other as it does for two files spaced far apart. While SSDs are also just inherently faster reading and writing each bit of data, it is this lack of delay between reading files on different parts of the disk that makes such a noticeable difference in performance. Booting up and starting applications are two situations that involve reading many small files, and thus benefit significantly from an SSD. SSDs have no moving parts, so there is nothing that will mechanically break down, and they are less sensitive to mechanical shock. It also means they are silent. SSDs also require a little less power, giving you a small increase in battery life. One caution is that SSDs are still relatively new compared to regular hard drives. Hard drives have been around so long that practically all the bugs have been ironed out, but there have been some issues with SSDs. These are typically bugs in the firmware code that controls how the drive operates. However, these bugs have been relative rare, and are getting rarer as the technology matures.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
TOP 1000 REVIEWERon June 10, 2012
I've been watching SSD technology for ages but held off due to high prices and small capacities. With the recent Gold Box deal on the 2011 SanDisk Extreme SSDs, the price of the 480GiB SSD was finally right and I took the plunge.

The goal with this drive was to replace the 250GB system drive of my 2009 MacBook Pro and replace it with a 480GiB SSD. This proved trivial. I did a time machine backup for safety and then mounted the SSD in an external USB drive carrier. I then used the *free* Smart Copy Clone software to "clone" my 250GB drive to the SSD over a USB connection. That took about 3 hours for 150GB of content. When complete, I shut down the computer, took it apart, removed the old drive, slid in the SanDisk Extreme drive, put it back together and turned it on: ta da!

The performance difference on my now 3-year old MacBook Pro is staggering. Booting the system happens in mere seconds. Loading my 200GB aperture library takes 4 seconds. Launching the ever-slow Microsoft Word 2011 takes less than 3 seconds. Launching the Chrome web browser is instantaneous. The impact is so severe that I will NEVER own another computer that does not use SSD technology. Based on this upgrade, I expect to get several more years of usage out of this machine. Previously I had planned on replacing it in the summer of 2012 or possibly holding off until 2013 at the latest.

BTW, if you've got an older MacBook Pro, take the time to install 8GB of RAM. That helps a lot too in some cases. You can pick that up on Amazon for $35-45 right now.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 17, 2012
I bought two of the 480GB SSDs configured in RAID 0 on a new Thinkpad W530 (SATA III). The performance of each drive (around 500MB/s) did not lose any to overhead when I striped two. Various benchmark programs came out at 980MB/s to over 1GB/s on read, and write ranged wildly from 500Gb/s to over 1GB/s depending on which program.

Real life running heavy I/O operations, such as copying a 35GB 1080P video, is insanely fast! Both drives in one laptop are very quiet - quieter than rest of the machine.

After running for few hours, I turned the machine off and took both SSDs out. They are warm to the touch, but not hot at all.

So far these drives are living up to its advertised performance, at a very attractive price.
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